Macron calls for military action in Libya
Pledge to save enslaved migrants comes as £39bn ‘Marshall Plan’ for Africa is launched to aid economy
French president Emmanuel Macron last night said that the EU and African Union will launch “concrete military and policing action” to rescue African migrants enslaved in Libya. It came as the EU pledged a “Marshall Plan” for Africa of around £39billion to help tackle mass migration.
FRENCH president Emmanuel Macron last night announced that the European Union and African Union will launch “concrete military and policing action” to rescue African migrants enslaved in Libya.
The announcement came as the EU pledged a Marshall Plan for Africa of €44 billion at a summit dominated by outrage over slave auctions in Libya of migrants sold “like goats”.
The furore over illicit slave auctions, highlighted in a recent CNN report, was thrust to the top of the agenda among the 83 heads of state from the EU and Africa gathered in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, for a two-day summit.
In an interview with France 24, Mr Macron said he was not suggesting sending foreign troops to Libya, adding: “It’s not about declaring war, Libya is a state in political transition ... but there’s reinforced police action that needs to be done to dismantle those networks”.
He also called for “individual, financial and physical sanctions” against human-trafficking networks, which he said had close links to terror groups in the area.
The plan could involve up to 15,000 people being flown out of Libya. The Libyan government last night agreed to allow the migrants to be evacuated, Mr Macron said.
Source countries will have to come to a holding centre in Tripoli and take back their citizens. Migrants without documentation would be held until their case is resolved.
These “emergency evacuation operations” will take place “in the coming days or weeks,” said Mr Macron.
In his opening remarks, Jean-claude Juncker, the European Commission president, said that the bloc had developed “an external investment plan for Africa” that would stump up €44 billion (£39bn) in private investment by 2020, notably in growth sectors such as renewable energy.
He said that the way to tackle mass migration was to stimulate massive economic growth in Africa. The CNN footage showed youths from Niger and other sub-saharan countries being sold to buyers for about $400 at undisclosed locations in Libya.
The UN, at France’s request, will hold a special security council session on the stranded migrants in Libya this week. Libya has promised to investigate the slavery claims, and to set up a “transit and departure facility” in Tripoli for people in need of international protection and help in being sent to third countries. Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, said all Nigerians stranded in Libya and elsewhere will be brought home and “rehabilitated”, calling it appalling that “some Nigerians were being sold like goats for few dollars”.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said: “It’s very important that we simply support Africans to put a stop to illegal migration, so people don’t have to either suffer in horrible camps in Libya or are even being traded.”
Yet some have pointedly accused the EU of hypocrisy over the crisis, notably by helping return Europe-bound migrants to an essentially lawless state.
Emmanuel Macron, the French president, speaking at an inauguration ceremony of a solar energy power plant in Zaktubi, near Ouagadougou, Burkino Faso, en route to the Eu-africa summit in the Ivory Coast